When it comes to Jobs to be Done (Jobs) there are two distinct camps.
There’s the side who live and breathe it. They’ve realised just how important it is and can’t un-see it.
Then there are the others, the laggards or perhaps sceptics who can’t see past the use of simple language anyone can use, right?
Let’s unpack this question that came up at an event recently:
Is Jobs a gimmick? Isn’t it just really easy?
There are a lot of things that sound easy but actually are very difficult to get on with.
I think the question comes from the fact that Jobs involves a lot of specialized language. And to be able to apply it, you have to change your approach to both understanding this new language and from the way you normally want to develop products.
Think about your latest product meeting. It’s likely you said something along the lines of “look at my product… people will just have to get used to this or they’ll need to learn how to use my product”.
The emphasis is on the customer having to change their habits/usage, right?
Jobs to be Done changes a lot of this because, at its core, it’s based on the human behavior of why we do things. It’s not about what we say we want to do or what we aspire to do, it’s based on what we actually did.
And this trips up a lot of people.
But if you understand why people make the change, from the demand-side and devoid of product, you can start to see what their struggles are, what their outcomes are, and what their habits and anxieties are.
If you take the product out of the situation and focus on the progress someone is trying to make… there are many products that may work that don’t require the customer to make trade offs and that aren’t as difficult to buy.
We should be making it easier for people to buy.
We should be the ones making the trade-offs on the supply side.
By making it harder to buy, we’re causing churn. When churn happens we get mad.
But if you look at churn within product development and see those 95% failure rates, you realise building and developing products that people want… isn’t actually easy. If it was that easy, we wouldn’t hear of companies having these failure rates.
When you actually dive down into the specialized language and unpack their specialist language, to get to the root cause of human behavior, that’s where the results come in.
Words and terms are powerful tools for communication and understanding. However, words can be overused, diluting their meaning and causing more confusion. Listen to Bob and Greg discuss the meaning, use, overuse and context of words and terms on the Circuit Breaker podcast.
So, should I only use Jobs as my research method?
“We’ve been adopting mixed methods. We like to say we are innovating but when you look at the surface level – we’re not doing anything different to anyone”.
I heard this the other day on one of our workshops.
We’re not saying Jobs is the only research you should do.
In fact, the more quality research you do, the better – as long as you can solve the problem. You need segmentation to uncover what people’s preferences are or the demographics in which to target for adverts. Other research isn’t the enemy of this process. As long as you do it in the right way, with a clear understanding of what you expect to get from it.
But we need to consider how we use Jobs.
We need to understand what set of dominoes need to fall for someone to decide “today’s the day I’m going to make a change”.
If we make sweeping generalizations or fail to really dig and unpack – that’s when the data we have isn’t worth anything to anyone.
When we abstract too far, it becomes so obvious that it isn’t not useful to anybody. If you understand what’s at the heart of Jobs, you realize it’s telling you about a piece of information that is vital. But you need other types of research to help unlock it further.
We need other research to give us direction. Take using Jobs to be Done and Design Thinking, for instance.
Jobs tells us about satisfaction.
So, Jobs isn’t a book of truth.
It’s a book of truth about the customer in a moment. And this piece of information we can use to apply to the supply side and understand how to build products that are actually meaningful and better for both our organizations and the customer.